07/19/2011 5:30 PM ET
Dodgers celebrate 30th anniversary of "Fernandomania"
Fernando Valenzuela will make a special appearance at "Viva Los Dodgers Day" this Sunday, July 24 and "Fernandomania" bobblehead night is Tuesday, July 26
LOS ANGELES - The Dodgers will commemorate the 30th anniversary of "Fernandomania" with a bobblehead giveaway presented by Kaiser Permanente on Tuesday, July 26 (7:10 p.m. vs. COL). Valenzuela will also make a special one-hour long appearance at "Viva Los Dodgers Day" presented by State Farm, Time Warner Cable and Chevrolet this Sunday, July 24 at 11:30 a.m. The legendary lefty will meet and sign autographs for fans.
"I wanted to take this opportunity to thank the fans that are so friendly and supportive even after 30 years, it really means a lot to me" said Valenzuela.
Dodger fans can find more information on "Fernandomania" Bobblehead night at dodgers.com/promotions and on "Viva Los Dodgers Day" at dodgers.com/viva and losdodgers.com/viva. Tickets can also be purchased by calling 866-DODGERS.
- Since 1945, Valenzuela is the only player in the Major Leagues to win his first eight career starts
- In his first 90 innings with the Dodgers from September 1980 through May 14, 1981, Valenzuela posted a 10-0 record and 0.40 ERA
- At home, once fans knew Valenzuela's next start date, the former Stadium Way box office would sell out that game within 24 hours. In 1981, on a game where Valenzuela was not pitching average attendance was 35,000-40,000, while his starts saw an attendance of more than 50,000
- On the road, Valenzuela's starts would also sell out. In anticipation of a May 1981 roadtrip to New York, the Mets built two extra ticket booths near the subway entrances to accommodate the anticipated rush of fans. The crowd of 39,848 was the Mets' largest of the season, they had been averaging 11,358
- Also on the road, the Dodgers' PR department had to set new media guidelines due to the overwhelming media attention Valenzuela garnered. One press conference was scheduled on Valenzuela's first day in each city on the road and another after he pitched
- Valenzuela's starts also affected television ratings. His May 3, 1981 start at Montreal drew a 19.6 Nielsen rating and 59 share in Los Angeles, an estimated 1.2 million adults watching at home. By comparison, the Game 7 Boston-Philadelphia NBA Eastern Conference final that night drew a 3.6 rating and 10 share
- Valenzuela remains the only player in baseball history to win both the Rookie of the Year and Cy Young Awards in the same season
- Valenzuela became the first rookie pitcher to lead the league in strikeouts since Herb Score of the 1955 Cleveland Indians
- Early in the 1981 season, reporters called 76-year-old Hall of Fame pitcher Carl Hubbell, the former New York Giants lefty known for his screwball pitch. "The first time I saw Fernando, I knew he was a natural," Hubbell said. "His delivery is just about perfect."
- In early May 1981, Valenzuela was invited to appear on the national television program "Good Morning America" even though he did not speak English
- Exactly two months after his Opening Day (4/9/81) shutout in his first Major League start, Valenzuela traveled to the White House in Washington and attended a luncheon hosted by President Ronald Reagan for Mexico's President José López Portillo
- Hall of Fame Manager Tommy Lasorda announced his wife Jo asked for Valenzuela's autograph, the first time she had ever requested a player's signature. Lillian Carter, the mother of former President Jimmy Carter, also requested a signed baseball